Liberty Global's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Liberty Global, Inc. (LBTYA)

Q2 2012 Earnings Conference Call

August 3, 2012 09:00 AM ET


John Malone - Chairman of the Board

Michael Fries - President and Chief Executive Officer

Diederik Karsten - Executive Vice President, European Broadband Operations

Charles Bracken - Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Financial Officer (and Principal Financial Officer)

Bernard Dvorak - Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Financial Officer (and Principal Accounting Officer)

Balan Nair - Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Bryan Hall - Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel


James Ratcliffe – Barclays

Jeff Wlodarczak – Pivotal Research Group

Matthew Harrigan – Wunderlich Securities

Vijay Jayant – ISI Group

Hugh I. McCaffrey – Goldman Sachs

Will Milner - Arete Research



Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to Liberty Global’s Investor Call. This call and the associated webcast are the property of Liberty Global and any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call or webcast in any form without the express written consent of Liberty Global is strictly prohibited.

At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Today’s formal presentation materials can be found under the investor relations section of Liberty Global’s website at Following today’s formal presentation, instructions will be given for a question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded on this date, August 3, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference call over to Mr. Mike Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global. Please go ahead, sir.

Michael Fries

Thanks and hello everybody. I hope you are doing great, enjoying the Olympics wherever you may be. We have the usual cast of characters on the call with us today, my Executive Vice President, Diederik Karsten, who runs our European Operations; Charlie Bracken and Bernie Dvorak, our co-CFOs; Balan Nair, our Chief Technology Officer; and Bryan Hall, our Counsel; and others on the call who might chime in from time to time.

Our agenda is as it has been in prior calls, I am going to make some opening remarks and then Bernie is going to go through the financials on this call and then we will get to your questions. But before I do that, we want to review the Safe Harbor statements. So, operator, please?


Thank you. Page 2 of the slides details the company’s Safe Harbor statement regarding forward-looking statements. Today’s presentation may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including the company’s expectations with respect to its outlook for 2012; and future growth prospects and other information and statements that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements.

These risks include those detailed from time-to-time in Liberty Global’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recently filed Forms 10-K and 10-Q. Liberty Global disclaims any obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectation or in the conditions on which any such statement is based.

I would now like to turn the call back over to Mr. Mike Fries.

Michael Fries

Great, thanks. So, as usual, we are going to go through some slides which you can access and I am going to start it off on Slide 4 with a quick recap of the quarter and where we are today in a few key areas.

I think what you will notice straightaway that the best part of our story continues to be our subscriber growth. Given the focus in our industry today, competitive platforms and disruptive technologies, and the European market situation, I think you will be pleased to learn that we continue to grow at record levels. We added 364,000 RGUs in the 3 months ended June 30, which is significantly higher than last year. And not surprisingly, Germany continues to be our primary growth driver, representing about 50% of our net ads, but we are also performing well across Europe, and I will show you those numbers in a minute.

Revenue for the 3 months was $2.5 billion, that’s a second straight quarter of more than 5% rebased growth and operating cash flow was $1.2 billion, that’s up 2.5% rebased year-over-year. I think it’s important to point out that our operating cash flow growth figure is in line and with expectations and actually a little better than budget. So obviously, we are anticipating an acceleration in OCF growth in the second half of the year and we are on track to do just that.

Adjusted free cash flow was up 24% for the quarter and 19% year-to-date, which is also on par with our guidance. In fact, not surprisingly, we are confirming all of our financial guidance targets today.

Switching gears, it was relatively a quiet quarter in the M&A area but I will provide you with four quick updates. I assume everyone knows at this point that we closed the sale of Austar at the end of May and banked $1.1 billion in proceeds. We also recently announced that together with Searchlight Capital we have begun the process of consolidating the market in Puerto Rico with the acquisition of the largest cable operator there, OneLink. Together, we are paying about 6.3 times synergies 2012 OCF for 263,000 RGUs which will merge into our operations. So, essentially with no additional capital investment on our part, we will own 60% of the business with a combined operating cash flow of approximately $120 million, 70% of the market, and pretty reasonable scale and growth prospects. With no obvious exit today, we think it’s a prudent way of rationalizing this asset.

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